Living In Reality: 9/19/13

Rivals II:

We’re going straight into the final girls’ Jungle. Hanging By A Thread is the name of the game. It’s another one we’ve seen before, where each team hangs upside-down and cuts through two thick ropes with mini-saws to drop their opponents into the water. It’s the type of Jungle that can go either way.

Diem struggles at first, but some advice from Johnny and others in the gallery helps her to regroup and go a lot faster. But Aneesa runs into trouble later on and Diem isn’t able to help her. Jemmye and Camila are steady throughout the contest and win the last slot in the final.

(T.D.’s Take: It’s a tough loss for Diem, who wanted to prove her worth in this game after coming back from another bout of cancer. It’s also tough for Aneesa, who has been in more Challenges than anyone without winning the whole thing. It appears that their trust issues kept holding them back though, including in this final jungle.)

T.J. congratulates all the finalists and also makes a curious point that it’s getting really hot in Thailand. Everyone waits for him to elaborate further, but he stops there. The roommates speculate about a new location for the final, considering that’s how the last few challenges have played out.

Everyone gets back to training in preparation for an assuredly grueling final. Despite being ridiculously fit, Emily is still apprehensive about gassing out, considering she’s never finished higher than third in a final. Paula wonders if her partner’s confidence is waning.

Cooke anticipates swimming during the final and worries about Cara Maria handling that part. Paula warns Jordan about the extreme difficulty of finals, but Jordan believes his team is ready to go.

(T.D.’s Take: Finals can be unpredictable at times. Sometimes perceived weaknesses on a team magically go away on the big stage. Other times, a team’s fears come to fruition. Or even something unexpected turns up that enhances or derails a team’s hopes.)

The house finally gets the big text from T.J., and it’s announced that they’re going to Tokyo. Wes is concerned about the new conditions and thinks the final could end up as more of a crapshoot. CT laments never winning a challenge despite being one of the best competitors over the years.

The challengers are headed to the airport on the bus when, lo and behold, another SWERVE~! happens. A group of “ninjas” led by T.J. tie up and blindfold everyone and whisk them off to a much closer location for an impromptu beginning to the final. T.J. calls this place Dream Island and begins to lay out the first stage of the final.

The teams start by swimming to a beach. Then, they have to arrange a bunch of blocks into one of three different shapes (cube, horseshoe, cross). There’s a one hour time limit for the puzzle. After a team completes the puzzle or time runs out, they can get a key and take a kayak over to a yacht to finish the first part of the final.

The big catch is that the girls and guys teams that finish third are eliminated. They still get their $15,000 cut of the prize pool, but they won’t get to move on to the next stage of the final.

The girls go first. Cara Maria fails to conquer her swimming issues, leaving her team considerably behind the other girls teams. However, they catch up when they build the puzzle and are able to take the kayak to the yacht first. The pressure mounts as the remaining girls teams compete for the final spot. Emily and Paula finally get through the puzzle and get on the yacht as Jemmye and Camila express their frustration at not getting it done.

The guys go a few minutes after the girls. Jordan gets to the beach quickly, but has to wait for Marlon, who isn’t the strongest swimmer. CT and Wes surprisingly finish their puzzle first and become the first guys team on the yacht. The other two teams use up their allotted time, but Johnny and Frank get to hop on the kayak first because their team made it onto the beach faster than Marlon and Jordan.

It’s a race to the yacht for the rest of the guys. Jordan and Marlon aren’t terribly far behind, but they may not have enough time to catch up. One unidentified team’s boat capsized, which serves as the cliffhanger to end the episode.

(T.D.’s Take: It would’ve been a huge shocker for the strongest girls team to go home before the final really got going, but Emily and Paula pulled it out. The supposed cerebral team in Johnny and Frank somehow ran into major trouble at the puzzle. The capsized boat is implied to be theirs, but I have my suspicions that the clip may have been a red herring. I’m not in love with eliminating teams this early. The silver lining for the third place teams though might be splitting $15K and avoiding the brutality of the rest of the finals course.)

The S#!% They Should’ve Shown:

This episode often lives up to its billing, as fans wonder why we didn’t see more of this stuff during the season proper. Unfortunately, I can’t be arsed (thanks Britain!) to go through every single salacious detail here. That’s actually a good thing, as there were way too many TMI moments in this episode. Time for some bullet point highlights (lowlights?).

-Johnny and others dressing as ninjas and attacking the others with water balloons.

-Preston getting toenail polish on his face, retaliating by antiquing Wes, CT/Knight returning the favor on Preston, Preston putting ants in Knights bed

-An old favorite, throwing people into the pool, even pulling some of them out of bed to do so

-Lots of girl-on-girl hookups involving Emily, Aneesa, Cooke, Nany and others (always a hit with the fratboy crowd)

-More recaps of CT being the player of the house

-Paula’s sleepwalking hijinks, including sleep um…tinkling?

-Knight desecrating the kitchen water fountain by using it like a bidet.

-Smelly bellybuttons (I don’t even know…)

-Everyone doing body shots off Paula

-Emily, Zach, Jordan, and Paula, AKA, the Crossfit Cult

-Cooke coloring a picture depicting her and Cara Maria beheading Anastasia and Jessica

-The cast encountering a baby elephant on the beach

-Johnny and Cara Maria feuding

-Zach stealing someone’s booze by the beach and almost getting everyone arrested

-The house being invaded by snakes, frogs, bugs and other creatures

-The Adventures of Johnny Bobblehead, AKA, Banobblehead

-Johnny and Anastasia food fight

-Paula and Frank stuffing grapes in their mouths for sport

-Cinnamon challenge (check out Youtube for examples)

-The Pool Olympics, with such prestigious events as running across couch cushions that were thrown into the pool

-Girls dressing as makeshift zombies

-And finally, Camila licking peanut butter off LeRoy’s nasty feet for money (we were fortunately spared the footage)

(T.D.’s Take: What did we learn here? 1. Paula is officially the mascot of the house. 2. Blame Johnny Bananas for any prank. 3. Ty really was invisible. 4. The level of sexing and boozing in reality TV houses can’t be touched by mere mortals. 5. Never underestimate what people will do out of sheer boredom, especially if they’re on TV. 6. These people are the most disgusting, trifling, gross people this side of the Jersey Shore. And we love it anyways…I think.)

Written by T. Green

is still waiting for that one special night when the Lions finally win the Super Bowl.

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